Dr. Gregory Caronis shared in the Daily Herald Newspaper recently that although it may not seem like it today, warmer days of spring are ahead. And with warm thoughts on our minds, many adults look back fondly on childhood days filled with active games, playgrounds and the beginning of the spring sport season. While we often remember playing outdoors with friends until waning daylight signals that it’s time to go home, carefree days can also be marred with injuries that can leave a lasting impact on a child’s health and development.
Children keep us busy in my orthopedic office. Many of the patients I see are children who tend to be much more active than adults and more prone to injury.
In addition, as one of the orthopedic trauma surgeons at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill., I am frequently on call when a child is injured. A good number of children we see suffer a fracture after falls from playground equipment or during play with friends. While the broken bone temporarily compromises a child’s lifestyle, they usually heal uneventfully with the proper treatment and care.
Still, certain basic steps can keep children safe. I would say that the greatest number of orthopedic injuries occur on playground equipment or with bike riding. Many of the injuries are bruises, but fractured arms and wrists are common, too.
Helmets – The importance of helmet utilization cannot be overemphasized — broken bones pale in comparison to the irreversible impact of a head injury. The helmet requirement should extend to any type of rolling sport. Scooters, skates and skateboards can all have the potential to cause a sudden fall with a significant amount of impact.
Playgrounds – The playground is fun but can be a dangerous place for children. Spring is the time we start seeing an increase in the number of playground injuries from a fall with an outstretched arm. Our body instinctively tries to break the fall, and we extend a hand forward. The impact frequently results in a fractured wrist. Close supervision of young children is important, as they may not have the physical skills required to safely navigate the equipment. Read more